Elizabeth Whitear Sermon Camm: Atypical Mormon pioneer
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This study examines the life of one Mormon pioneer woman, Elizabeth Whitear Sermon Camm, who immigrated to the United States with a specific dream of reaching Utah and living among other members of her faith. Everything went terribly wrong when she crossed the Plains with the Martin Handcart Company, which became one of the worst disasters of the westward migration in American history due to an early winter and scarce food rations. When Elizabeth’s husband died during this trek west, her life took a dramatic turn. This study uses firsthand accounts, biographical accounts, and newspaper articles to compare the outcome of Elizabeth’s life to that of other women in her age group who also became widowed while crossing the Plains with the Martin Handcart Company. Elizabeth’s experience is not typical, and adds new perspective to this event.